House passes HB147 - Mandatory Fetal Ultrasounds for Abortion Patients

by gvonk, March 21, 2007 - 10:41am

If this bill had been on our radar before this past weekend, you can bet that we would have brought it up on the edition of the Georgia Politics Podcast we recorded on Saturday.

The state House passed HB147 this week, a bill that will require doctors to force anyone seeking an abortion to first obtain an ultrasound or sonogram. Because forced medical procedures are the best way to teach someone a lesson, right? The bill is loaded with language that makes it clear that we as a state believe that most women are just too stupid to know what the hell they are doing when they seek an abortion.

[It is the purpose of this Act to:] reduce "the risk that a woman may elect an abortion, only to discover later, with devastating psychological consequences, that her decision was not fully informed"

So, I take it there are a lot of cases where women get home from their abortion and say "Wait, does this mean I'm not pregnant anymore? I totally didn't consider that! What a devastating discovery!!!!" Seriously, I'd have a hard time believing that the decision to seek an abortion is one that isn't considered and agonized over pretty seriously already in 99.9% of all cases.

If this measure passes, one thing is clear. This new requirement will not address any of the circumstances that lead women to need abortions in the first place. It won't be a deterrent to unplanned pregnancy, it won't help better educate young men and women about sex, and it won't give a broader range of people access to contraception.

What it does achieve--besides increasing the cost of health care for everyone--is simply make the process more painful for anyone who has already decided to seek the procedure.

The woman shall at the conclusion of the ultrasound be offered the opportunity to view the fetal image and hear the fetal heartbeat. The active ultrasound image shall be of a quality consistent with standard medical practice in the community, contain the dimensions of the unborn child, and accurately portray the presence of external members and internal organs, including but not limited to the heartbeat, if present or viewable, of the unborn child.

What a ridiculous level of detail on this requirement, too. Why don't we make them sit in a room full of Precious Moments figurines and decide what they would have named the baby, too? "Make sure y'all make 'em look at the organs and hear the heartbeat, too! Really rub their noses in it to get the point across to these dumb whores." The carefully-chosen criteria for the ultrasound make it clear that this isn't about making informed medical decisions (the kind that are made every day under the care of competent doctors that don't require that legislation compel them to do so). This is about shaming women into reconsidering.

Tags: abortion, Georgia legislature, legislature, politics

Full a full index of blog entries, visit the blog entries page.


Amber Rhea's picture
Amber Rhea

And, the other, very important thing this law would do is greatly reduce the number of locations where women can obtain an abortion. This will disproportionately affect poor and rural women, since many clinics do not have ultrasound equipment and cannot afford to equip their clinic with such devices. It's already damn near impossible to obtain an abortion in Georgia if you don't live in Atlanta and aren't at least middle class; this makes it even worse. I guess that whole "undue burden" part of Roe v. Wade doesn't really matter.

Great post, Garrett... thanks for posting it here.

Posted on March 21, 2007 - 11:01am

gvonk's picture

Hmm... Section 4.a.1.1 seems to indicate that if an ultrasound wasn't already performed when the abortion is sought, the only obligation is for the doctor to provide the patient a list of places where she could get one... They only require doctors to shove it in their face if you've already had one taken.

Geographically indexed materials designed to inform the female of public and private facilities and services available to assist a female with obtaining an ultrasound which shall include a comprehensive list of the facilities available, a description of the services they offer, and a description of the manner, including telephone numbers and website addresses, in which they might be contacted or, at the option of such department, printed materials including a toll-free, 24 hour telephone number which may be called to obtain, orally or by a tape recorded message tailored to the ZIP Code entered by the caller, such a list and description of facilities in the locality of the caller and of the services they offer;

So, that's not as arduous as requiring the clinics to be capable of actually performing the ultrasound itself, but it still reeks of the notion that women can't make these decisions themselves without Jesus^H^H^H^H^H the legislature holding their hands.

Posted on March 21, 2007 - 11:34am

Amber Rhea's picture
Amber Rhea

That still places a major burden on poor/rural/single women, who may not be able to travel to a location to get an ultrasound, however. Not that you're advocating for it in any way shape or form. I'm just pointing this out.

The "rub their faces in it" thing? Yeah... rarely has it been so painfully obvious as this. "Oh, honey, now, you don't REALLY want that abortion... you just think you do... silly girl..."

Posted on March 21, 2007 - 1:19pm

gvonk's picture

I don't think either of us intends to harp on this, but I still don't see a real burden on a woman without access to an ultrasound. Nobody is required to get an ultrasound/sonogram at any point in time. Basically, per this bill (which I still don't support), the doctor will have to say "By law, I'm required to give you this information on ultrasound availability" and the patient will say "Ok, thanks, let's get on with the procedure." If the patient doesn't want/can't afford/can't travel for an ultrasound, they can still get the abortion, no problem.

It really seems more of a burden on women who have already had an ultrasound taken, because in that case, the doctor is required by law to point out to the patient the organs, heartbeat, and resemblance to the Baby Jesus of the fetus.

I want to stress that I'm not defending this bill, but I just want to be accurate in our discussion.

Posted on March 22, 2007 - 10:29am

Amber Rhea's picture
Amber Rhea

Oh, I know. It's a ridiculous thing. As if women are going to go, "Look! It has feet! I've changed my mind, doc! I don't want an abortion after all!"

And there has also been a bill floated (last year, I think) requiring ultrasounds across the board. This may be a stepping-stone.

Posted on March 22, 2007 - 10:49am